Sandor by Miguel Regodón Harkness ©
|Born||In 270 AC or 271 AC|
|Died||In 300 AC (supposedly)|
|Played by||Rory McCann|
|TV series||Season 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 6 | 7 | 8|
Sandor Clegane is a member of House Clegane and is the younger brother of Ser Gregor Clegane. Sandor is nicknamed the Hound for his fierce nature and unquestioning obedience to House Lannister and for the three dogs featured in his family's arms. In the television adaptation Game of Thrones, he is played by Rory McCann.
As a child, Sandor received gruesome facial burns when Gregor shoved his face into a brazier. He has come to loathe fire, his brother, and the hypocrisy of knighthood in general. The sworn shield of Prince Joffrey Baratheon, Sandor is considered one of the most dangerous fighters in Westeros.
Appearance and Character
- See also: Images of Sandor Clegane
Sandor is a huge and heavily-muscled man. He has grey eyes, his nose is large and hooked, and his long hair is dark and thin. One side of Sandor's face is gaunt, with sharp cheekbones and a heavy brow, while the other side is a burned ruin of scars. Slick black flesh is pocked with craters and deep cracks that ooze red and wet, his ear is only a hole with a stump, and a hint of bone shows on his jaw. The scars extend down to his throat. There is a twisted mass of scars around his eye, which is still good, not harmed by the fire, but he has no lips on that side. Sandor brushes his hair so that it covers his burned side, since no hair grows there. Sandor speaks in a rough, rasping voice, and has a laugh "like the snarling of dogs in a pit." The burnt corner of his mouth twitches when he speaks.[N 1]
According to George R. R. Martin, Sandor is taller than King Robert I Baratheon, Brienne of Tarth, Lord Renly Baratheon, and Ser Jaime Lannister, but shorter than Hodor and Lord Jon Umber. Jaime regards Sandor as one of the strongest living men in Westeros, but the Kingslayer thinks he could defeat the Hound's strength with his own speed and skill.
The cynical Sandor dislikes knighthood and has a temper, but he is dutiful and likes dogs. He often makes fun of Tyrion Lannister because of the dwarf's height, which amuses Prince Joffrey Baratheon. According to Lord Varys, Sandor gambles and patronizes whores and winesinks. Sandor hates and fears fire, but will carry a torch or light a campfire when needed.
The Hound regularly wears an olive-green cloak over plain, soot-dark armor, and a distinctive helm sculpted into the shape of a snarling dog's head. He also sometimes wears a brown roughspun tunic and studded leather jerkin. He also has worn a red woolen tunic with a leather dog's head sewn on the front. When wearing the white woolen cloak of the Kingsguard, he fastens it with a jeweled brooch. Sandor wields a longsword, a warhammer, and a dagger, and can wield an axe. His stallion is a heavy courser named Stranger. He has had at least one unnamed squire.
When Sandor was seven years old, a woodcarver in the village by the family keep gifted toys to the Cleganes to buy favor. Sandor desired his brother Gregor's gift, a jointed wooden knight, and took it to play with, though he was afraid of what the brutal Gregor might do. When Gregor found him, he shoved the side of Sandor's face into the burning coals of a brazier and held him there while he screamed, until three grown men were able to drag him off. The Cleganes' maester attempted to heal the burns with ointments.
Sandor's father explained the burns by claiming that his bedding caught fire, though there are still rumors that Gregor was involved. There are also rumors of a sister who died young in mysterious circumstances, and their father was killed in a hunting accident, which is also implied to have been suspicious, leaving the family estates to Gregor.
Sandor left to join the Lannister household as a sworn sword on the day Gregor came into his inheritance, and he has never returned to his family home. He claims to have killed a man when he was twelve years old, possibly during Robert's Rebellion, as he was part of Lord Tywin Lannister's host during the Sack of King's Landing. Sandor has never taken a knight's vows.
Queen Cersei Lannister assigned Sandor to protect her eldest son, Prince Joffrey Baratheon, and the sworn shield has protected the boy for many years. Joffrey is very fond of Sandor and often calls him "dog", but his younger brother, Prince Tommen Baratheon, is frightened of Sandor's face and voice.
A Game of Thrones
Sandor guards Prince Joffrey Baratheon when the retinue of King Robert I Baratheon travels to Winterfell. When Bran Stark is comatose after a fall, Sandor offers to silence the boy's direwolf when Joffrey complains of its howling.
While Robert's retinue is returning to King's Landing, Joffrey dismisses his bodyguard so the boy can explore the Trident with his betrothed, Sansa Stark. The prince is wounded by Nymeria, the direwolf of Sansa's sister Arya, however. When Arya goes missing, Ser Jaime Lannister and Sandor lead searches for her north of the river; the girl is eventually found by Jory Cassel. Sandor earns the enmity of Arya by acting on Lannister orders to kill her friend Mycah, the son of a butcher, who is believed to have harmed Joffrey.
Sandor rides well during the first day of the Hand's tourney, unhorsing Lord Renly Baratheon. After that night's feast, Joffrey has Sandor escort Sansa Stark back to the Red Keep. Drunk, despite the final jousts the next day, Sandor becomes enamored with Sansa. Angry that she cannot look him in the eye due to his disfigurement, he mocks her for her polished manners, calling her a "little bird" who chirps on command. Sandor reveals to Sansa how was face was burned in childhood, then threatens to kill the girl if she tells his story to anyone else.
Renly wins a hundred golden dragons from Lord Petyr Baelish by betting on Sandor against Ser Jaime Lannister, and the Hound advance to the finals. Sandor saves Ser Loras Tyrell from the wrath of his brother, Ser Gregor Clegane, during their joust. He fights heatedly with his brother, but kneels when King Robert commands them to stop. Loras allows Sandor to be the champion without a final joust, and the Hound is cheered by Sansa and the smallfolk.
Joffrey and Sandor are among Robert's retinue when the king goes hunting in the kingswood, but the prince and his bodyguard return to the capital after Robert decides to search for a monstrous boar. The king is eventually mortally wounded by the boar.
When Lord Eddard Stark, the Hand of the King, attempts to take Cersei and her illegitimate children into custody with the help of the gold cloaks—unbeknownst to the fact that Commander Janos Slynt is already under the employ of the treacherous Lord Petyr Baelish—Sandor participates in the widespread slaughter of Eddard's remaining household guard alongside his erstwhile allies, personally killing Cayn. The Hound also takes Jeyne Poole into custody, placing her in Sansa's room, after breaking down her door with a warhammer.
Sandor laughs when Ser Barristan Selmy is dismissed from the Kingsguard, and the Hound is named as his replacement despite refusing to become a knight. Sandor is often assigned to watch over Sansa, and despite his gruff manner, he treats her with kindness and tries to spare her from Joffrey's sadism. When Joffrey orders Ser Meryn Trant to beat her, Sandor delicately dabs Sansa's bloody lip. Lord Tywin Lannister disapproves of Sandor's appointment to the Kinsguard upon learning of it.
A Clash of Kings
According to Queen Cersei Lannister, it was King Joffrey I Baratheon's decision to name Sandor to the Kingsguard. Sandor strategically defends Sansa Stark from Joffrey's wrath many times and is the only Kingsguard who is never commanded to beat her. Sandor is present for the tourney on King Joffrey's name day as Joffrey's bodyguard. He is dismissive of the competitors, calling them gnats, that it would be a waste of effort to compete himself, and that even Joffrey could beat them.
When returning from the Red Keep's godswood after meeting for the first time with Ser Dontos Hollard, Joffrey's new fool, Sansa runs into a drunk Sandor. He admires her blooming womanhood, but sees her as still a "stupid little bird […] singing all the songs they taught you". He asks her to sing "some song about knights and fair maids", and mocks Sansa's admiration of true knights, but she says she will sing for him gladly. Sansa is frightened by him during this encounter, but though he hurts her by grabbing her wrist to stop her from falling, he is also gentle when he protects her from Ser Boros Blount, and she asks Sandor why he does not let anyone call him a knight. When he takes her back unharmed to the Red Keep, he warns her she is surrounded by liars.
After the Battle of Oxcross, Sandor warns Sansa Joffrey is not pleased with her rebellious brother, Robb Stark. Sansa says she had no part Robb's treasons, at which Sandor snorts, "They trained you well, little bird." Angry at Ser Stafford Lannister's defeat at Oxcross, Joffrey orders Sandor to beat Sansa, but Dontos interrupts and hits the girl with a melon. Joffrey instead has Boros punch Sansa and strike her with the flat of his sword. When Sandor objects, Joffrey orders Boros to strip Sansa naked, but he is stopped by the arrival of Tyrion Lannister with Bronn and Timett. Tyrion asks for someone to give the half-nude girl something to cover herself, so Sandor tosses his cloak to Sansa.
During the riot of King's Landing, Sandor comes to the aid of Sansa when she is nearly dragged from her horse by the angry mob. Sandor's savage fury and sword fighting drives the mob away from her in fear, saving her from rape and possible murder. Sansa later thanks him, and he tells her "a dog doesn't need courage to chase off rats." When Stannis Baratheon's men burn the kingswood, Sandor tells Sansa "only cowards fight with fire."
Sandor fights heroically during the Battle of the Blackwater, leading the defense against a group of Stannis's archers who land on the shores of the Blackwater Rush. Frightened by wildfire, however, he eventually deserts after refusing Tyrion's command to return to the fiery battlefield. Sandor waits for Sansa in her chambers and drunkenly offers to take her with him, but instead settles for a song elicited at knifepoint. Sandor vanishes from King's Landing.
A Storm of Swords
Ser Jaime Lannister considers Brienne of Tarth to be "the Hound with teats". Arya Stark includes Sandor in her list of those she wants to die. Sansa Stark wishes Sandor was still there and keeps his bloodied Kingsguard cloak hidden in a chest, and she believes that he kissed her the night of the Blackwater. When Sansa is forced to marry Tyrion Lannister, she considers the Imp to be uglier than the Hound.
The Mad Huntsman captures the vagabond Sandor and brings him to Stoney Sept in the riverlands. The Hound is taken into custody of the brotherhood without banners, who also have Sansa's younger sister, Arya. In the hollow hill, the brotherhood put Sandor on trial for various atrocities committed by Lannister soldiers, but no crime can be attributed to him personally until Arya testifies to his killing of Mycah, the butcher's boy. Since there is not enough evidence for a court trial, the brotherhood's leader, Lord Beric Dondarrion, decrees that Sandor will face him in a trial by combat. A follower of R'hllor, Beric fights with a magic flaming blade, and Sandor's left arm is burned when his shield catches fire. Despite his fear of fire, Sandor manages to defeat Beric.
The brotherhood strip Sandor of most of his possessions, including the remains of his winnings from the Hand's tourney, and set him free, though he is allowed to keep his arms, armor, and warhorse, Stranger. When several of the brotherhood state that Sandor should be killed, Beric says R'hllor must have a purpose for the Hound. Sandor soon returns to try to reclaim his gold by force, upon which he stumbles across Arya as she tries to escape. He kidnaps her instead and intends to ransom her back to her brother, Robb Stark, King in the North, who is going to attend the wedding of Lord Edmure Tully and Roslin Frey at the Twins.
Sandor and Arya cross the Trident at flooded Harroway, where the Hound pays outraged ferrymen with a promissory note from Beric instead of gold. They arrive at the Twins shortly before the Red Wedding massacre takes place, however. Amidst the fighting, Sandor kills several men—possibly including Tytos Frey and Garse Goodbrook—and incapacitates Arya to prevent her from running into the massacre.
Sandor hopes to find another relative to whom he can ransom Arya, possibly her aunt, Lysa Arryn, in the Vale. While traveling away from the Twins, Sandor gives the gift of mercy to a Piper archer who was wounded by Boltons during the Red Wedding. Sandor and Arya stay at a village in the foothills of the Mountains of the Moon for a few weeks, but the village elder turns them away after work is finished on a palisade. With the high road to the Eyrie closed, Sandor decides to bring Arya to Ser Brynden Tully, her great-uncle at Riverrun.
Seeking shelter at the inn at the crossroads, Sandor and Arya encounter two of Gregor's men and their pimply squire, who inform them of the siege of Riverrun by House Frey. When the two groups come to blows, Sandor kills Polliver and holds off the Tickler until the torturer is killed by Arya, who also kills the squire. The hungry and inebriated Sandor is seriously injured, receiving wounds on his thigh, ribs, neck, and face, and the stump of his burned ear is sliced off. Though Arya dresses his wounds, they quickly became infected during their journey to Saltpans. Conflicted about her feelings after she leaves him off her list, Arya refuses to grant Sandor the gift of mercy despite his pleas. She rides off, leaving him under a tree by the Trident. The brotherhood without banners search for Sandor.
A Feast For Crows
Reports spread of the Hound leading a pack of outlaws in a brutal spree of banditry near the Trident, and there is confusion whether he has joined Beric Dondarrion's brotherhood. Witnesses state a roaring brute in a hound's head helm led the vicious raid on Saltpans. Ser Bonifer Hasty, Ser Kevan Lannister, and Lord Randyll Tarly intend to bring outlaws like Sandor to justice near Darry, Harrenhal, and Maidenpool.
During dinner at Darry, Ser Lyle Crakehall claims to have been moved by the distress of Mariya Darry and Amerei Frey, and gives them his word that once Riverrun has fallen he shall return to hunt down the Hound and kill him for them, adding that dogs do not frighten him.
Seeking Sansa Stark, Brienne of Tarth acts on information that she received from Timeon of the Brave Companions that Sansa had been carried away by the Hound. Brienne's travels with Septon Meribald take her to a septry on the Quiet Isle. The Elder Brother of the monastery informs her that it was the younger sister that Sandor made off with, Arya Stark. The Elder Brother knows they were headed for Saltpans, but he states the Hound is dead, "by the sword, as he had lived" and he buried him personally and left his hound helm as a marker. Someone else found the helm and went on, with others, to rape and kill at Saltpans. The Elder Brother tells Brienne she would have pitied Sandor if she had seen him at the end, crying in pain and begging for the gift of mercy. He tells her the Hound died in his arms, and Sandor Clegane is at rest. He also tells her Sandor's big black stallion, Stranger is in their stables.
While at the crossroads inn, Brienne encounters a group of broken men led by Rorge, who wears Sandor's hound helm. Prior to the capture of Harrenhal, Rorge, Biter, and other former Brave Companions had traveled east to seek ship at Saltpans. Rorge had taken Sandor's snarling dog helm from his grave site, and Rorge was responsible for Sandor's alleged atrocities, such as the raid on Saltpans. Rorge is slain in a duel with Brienne.
When the brotherhood returns to the inn, Lem Lemoncloak takes Sandor's helm from Rorge's corpse. Thoros of Myr advises Lem to abandon the helm, seeing it as a symbol of Sandor's rage, but the bitter Lem refuses. This new Hound serves Lady Stoneheart.
Many readers of the series believe that there are hints in what the Elder Brother has said about the Hound to Brienne of Tarth, and that Sandor may have survived and is living as a novice on the Quiet Isle's monastery. The Elder Brother spoke of himself as having died on the Trident, but reborn on the Quiet Isle. The Elder Brother may also consider "the Hound" to be simply an aspect of Sandor's personality — the same way that “the Cobbler Above” is an aspect of the Smith, who in turn is an aspect of the one God. Some believe Sandor is the novice gravedigger espied by Brienne.
Quotes by Sandor
Eddard: You rode him down.
Sandor: He ran. But not very fast.
Sansa: Why do you let people call you a dog? You won't let anyone call you a knight.
Sandor: I like dogs better than knights... A hound will die for you, but never lie to you. And he'll look you straight in the face.
Killing is the sweetest thing there is.
What do you think a knight is for, girl? You think it's all taking favors from ladies and looking fine in gold plate? Knights are for killing. I killed my first man at twelve. I've lost count of how many I've killed since then. High lords with old names, fat rich men dressed in velvet, knights puffed up like bladders with their honors, yes, and women and children too—they're all meat, and I'm the butcher.
Sandor: If there are gods, they made sheep so wolves could eat mutton, and they made the weak for the strong to play with.
Sansa: True knights protect the weak.Sandor: I'm honest. It's the world that's awful.
Sandor: There are no true knights, no more than there are gods. If you can't protect yourself, die and get out of the way of those who can. Sharp steel and strong arms rule this world, don't ever believe any different.
Sansa: You're awful.
—Sandor and Sansa Stark
I could keep you safe. They’re all afraid of me. No one would hurt you again, or I’d kill them.
I've killed a lot more than him, I promise you. You think that makes me some monster. Well, maybe it does, but I saved your sister's life too. The day the mob pulled her off her horse, I cut through them and brought her back to the castle, else she would have gotten what Lollys Stokeworth got. And she sang for me. You didn't know that, did you? Your sister sang me a sweet little song.—Sandor to Arya Stark
Even a dog gets tired of being kicked.—Sandor to Arya Stark
—Sandor to a dying bowman in service to Marq Piper
Quotes about Sandor
And dismissing Selmy, where was the sense in that? Yes, the man was old, but the name of Barristan the Bold still has meaning in the realm. He lent honor to any man he served. Can anyone say the same of the Hound? You feed your dog bones under the table, you do not seat him beside you on the high bench.
He is a dog, just as he says. A half-wild, mean-tempered dog that bites any hand that tries to pet him, and yet will savage any man who tries to hurt his masters.
I wish the Hound were here. The night of the battle, Sandor Clegane had come to her chambers to take her from the city, but Sansa had refused. Sometimes she lay awake at night, wondering if she’d been wise. She had his stained white cloak hidden in a cedar chest beneath her summer silks. She could not say why she'd kept it. The Hound had turned craven, she heard it said; at the height of the battle, he got so drunk the Imp had to take his men. But Sansa understood. She knew the secret of his burned face. It was only the fire he feared. That night, the wildfire had set the river itself ablaze, and filled the very air with green flame. Even in the castle, Sansa had been afraid. Outside ... she could scarcely imagine it.
Sandor Clegane would kill us all gladly, but not in our sleep.
When a dog goes bad, the fault lies with his master.
—thoughts of Jaime Lannister
—thoughts of Jaime Lannister
As the boy's lips touched her own she found herself thinking of another kiss. She could still remember how it felt, when his cruel mouth pressed down on her own. He had come to Sansa in the darkness as green fire filled the sky. He took a song and a kiss, and left me nothing but a bloody cloak.
Sandor Clegane was a man in torment.
- A Game of Thrones, Sansa II, identifies the left side of Sandor's face as burned and his right side as gaunt, but this explanation may be from Sansa Stark's perspective. A Clash of Kings, Sansa III, describes Sansa as walking on Sandor's left and away from his burned side, indicating that it is his right side which is burned. Licensed artwork often depicts his left side as burned. The comic book adaptations of the novels by Dynamite Entertainment depict his right side as burned, as does Rory McCann's portrayal in Game of Thrones.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 9, Tyrion I.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 15, Sansa I.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 44, Tyrion X.
- See the Sandor Clegane calculation.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 29, Sansa II.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 16, Jaime II.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 30, Jaime IV.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 7, Arya I.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 47, Arya IX.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 32, Sansa III.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 2, Sansa I.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 65, Arya XII.
- So Spake Martin: Brienne of Tarth, January 31, 2001
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 21, Jaime III.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 52, Sansa IV.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 18, Sansa II.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 38, Arya VIII.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 41, Tyrion IX.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 61, Tyrion XIV.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 62, Sansa VII.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 34, Arya VI.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 30, Eddard VII.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 51, Sansa IV.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 52, Arya XI.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 49, Catelyn VI.
- So Spake Martin: US Signing Tour (Madison, WI), November 14, 2005
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 68, Sansa VI.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 31, Brienne VI.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 3, Tyrion I.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 25, Brienne V.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 25, Eddard V.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 16, Eddard III.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 43, Eddard XI.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 47, Eddard XIII.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 49, Eddard XIV.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 57, Sansa V.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 67, Sansa VI.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 69, Tyrion IX.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 22, Catelyn II.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 60, Sansa VI.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 59, Tyrion XIII.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 65, Sansa VIII.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 6, Sansa I.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 12, Tyrion II.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 1, Jaime I.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 3, Arya I.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 16, Sansa II.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 28, Sansa III.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 29, Arya V.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 39, Arya VII.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 43, Arya VIII.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 50, Arya X.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 51, Catelyn VII.
- A Storm of Swords, Epilogue.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 74, Arya XIII.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 14, Brienne III.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 12, Cersei III.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 27, Jaime III.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 37, Brienne VII.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 42, Brienne VIII.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 44, Jaime VII.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 57, Sansa V.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 41, Alayne II.
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